Employee

More Changes to AODA – Are You Truly Open For Business?

For employers, the start of a new year in this decade has been synonymous with a new wave of regulations coming in under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, more commonly referred to as “AODA.”

Previously, AODA’s broadest workplace requirements only applied to large organizations. Now as of January 1, 2017, AODA requires smaller organizations of up to 50 employees to implement a new set of standards.

How do you count employees? Read more →

Quick Service, Long Notice Period – Constructive Dismissal Nets Employee $100K in Damages

fast food

From Spring, 2016:

While the majority of jobs in the quick service (or fast food) industry may be lower wage jobs, senior managers can earn significant salaries, with one dismissed employee recently receiving over $100,000 in damages for a constructive dismissal.

In Brake v. PJ-M2R, 2016 ONSC 1795, the Plaintiff had worked for McDonald’s Restaurants for 25 years, and nearly 20 with the same franchise. While her performance reviews were historically excellent, they began to slip in 2011, and she was asked to move to a different location – one of the worst performing in the country.

When the Plaintiff’s new location failed nearly impossible performance expectations, she was told she could ‘take a demotion or go.’ She subsequently sued for constructive dismissal. She managed to obtain employment elsewhere, but as a cashier and without the same seniority.

The Court held that the Defendant’s performance expectations were arbitrary and unfairly applied, and that while the employee was not incompetent, she was effectively set up to fail and thus constructively dismissed.  Given her age (62 at termination), her length of employment with McDonald’s, her seniority, and her inability to reach the same success, she was awarded 20 months’ pay in lieu of notice, including benefits and her other requirements at law. At an annual salary of over $62,000, she received just over $104,000 !

The take-away (or, in this instance, the “take-out”):

If you are an employer, before making any changes to an employee’s job description – including, but not limited to, a demotion or change in location — it is important to obtain legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer – otherwise you could face allegations of constructive dismissal. If you are employee whose job description has been unilaterally changed by your employer, it is vital that you obtain legal advice immediately in order to be made aware of your rights – and so that you can take the appropriate steps in a timely manner in order to preserve those rights. Mitchell Rose of our firm has over twenty years of experience handling employment law matters. He can be contacted at or at 416-224-1996 (209).

Thanks to Shaun Bernstein for this contribution.
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Disclaimer: Welcome! Please note that this blog and its posts are intended for educational uses only. They are not intended as, nor should they be construed by the user as legal advice.  The use of this blog and this post does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation then please feel free to contact us to arrange for an in-person consultation.

Uber Under Fire: A Look Inside the Controversial Car Service

Have you taken a ride with Uber lately? The transportation smartphone application has taken off internationally since it launched in 2009, providing users with a way to get around in a taxi, designated black car, or with the help of a ‘friendly stranger’ through the use of the company’s UberX service.

GETTING BEHIND THE WHEEL

What does it take to be an UberX driver? According to Uber’s website, the primary requirements appear to be a vehicle in excellent condition, along with a valid license and insurance. UberX boasts that drivers have the ability to drive their own vehicles at their leisure by turning the service on or off at their convenience. Drivers are not even required to have a smartphone; Uber will provide the necessary phones for those not technologically equipped.

So in the world of employment law, how would these drivers be qualified? In a June decision out of California (which only came to light because of Uber’s decision to appeal), the California Labour Commission ruled that Uber drivers were employees, and not independent contractors. The ruling was at odds with Uber’s stance that its drivers are independent contractors, supported by the platform’s various outlets for autonomy. Uber claims that drivers have been ruled to be independent contractors in five other states.

Read more →